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The Fortune Cookie (1966) Poster

Trivia

Production was halted for weeks after Walter Matthau had a heart attack. He had slimmed from 190 to 160 pounds by the time filming was completed, and had to wear a heavy black coat to conceal the weight loss.
Marked the first pairing of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, who subsequently worked together on 11 additional films (including Kotch (1971), in which Lemmon directed Matthau).
This is the first film on which Billy Wilder and Walter Matthau worked together, though Matthau was Wilder's first choice for the part in The Seven Year Itch (1955) that was eventually played by Tom Ewell.
This was director Billy Wilder's second film in a row in which one of his lead actors suffered a heart attack. In preceding film, 1964's Kiss Me, Stupid (1964), Peter Sellers' health problem forced Wilder to replace him with Ray Walston. In Fortune Cookie, Walter Matthau suffered attack midway through production but shooting was postponed until he recovered; his drastic weight loss from scene to scene is noticeable.
Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau bonded early in the production process, finding a connection in their mutual love of football. They would remain friends the rest of their lives.
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On the third day of filming, Billy Wilder gave Walter Matthau a direction with which he disagreed. Instead of arguing, Matthau said, "You speak kind of funny, Billy - are you from out of town."
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Billy Wilder came up with the idea for this film when he saw a player run into a cameraman on the sidelines while watching a football game.
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Walter Matthau had never worked with a director as precise as Billy Wilder, particularly when it came to the script. Although the director allowed the actors to rehearse as much as they wanted and to make suggestions, he insisted they stick closely to the script.
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Jack Lemmon's wheelchair ballet "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To", lasts 3-1/4 minutes and was completed in one take.
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For the scene in which he motors through the city searching for Ron Rich (aka "Boom Boom"), Jack Lemmon also served as a driver, cinematographer and gaffer.
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When Cliff Osmond asked Billy Wilder how to play the private detective, Wilder, always a man of few words where actors were concerned, said, "Incessant pursuit. Relentless. Play Javert [from Les Miserables]".
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The game at the opening of the film when Harry gets hurt was played Oct. 31,1965 at Cleveland . The final score was Vikings 27, Browns 17.
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For later shots of the game, the Browns were playing elsewhere, so Billy Wilder substituted the Kent State football team. Spectators were lured to the stadium to serve as unpaid extras with the promise of free prizes, ranging from transistor radios to a new car. The latter was awarded to Wilder's wife, Audrey.
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Jack Lemmon originally had two other actors proposed to star with him, Frank Sinatra and Jackie Gleason, but he insisted that he do the picture with Walter Matthau.
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Lisa Linsky discovered the piano hidden in her folk's garage at the age of four. One of Lisa's fondest early memories is sharing a piano with fellow actor Jack Lemmon during the 1965-66 filming of the movie "The Fortune Cookie." (Lisa played the little girl on the skateboard in an early hospital scene.)
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When the Browns' LeRoy Kelly scored a spectacular punt return in the game's third quarter, Billy Wilder decided to give Boom Boom Jackson the same uniform number, 44.
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Average Shot Length (ASL) = 17 seconds
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During a Cleveland Browns-Houston Oilers game at Cleveland Stadium on December 18, 1988, a cameraman, Mike Gallagher, was injured when Oilers wide receiver Haywood Jeffires and Browns defensive back Will Hill ran into him near the bleachers. The game was held up for 12 minutes.
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William Christopher's movie debut.
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The Browns' poor performance in the game prompted Cleveland fans to boo quarterback Frank Ryan. At a press conference afterwards, Billy Wilder stated, "...after my last picture, I know how [team owner Art] Modell feels. But he shouldn't worry. There'll be further disasters."
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Billy Wilder shot the opening sequence during an actual Vikings-Browns game on October 31, 1965. The Vikings won 27-17.
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When Billy Wilder re-created LeRoy Kelly's run, Browns halfback Ernie Green performed the feat in long shots.
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